Skip to Content


A common criticism of R, especially from data scientists who
are new to R but proficient in multiple programming languages, is that R is
“quirky” and annoying because there is almost always more than one way to do
simple things.  I usually counter that
they are trying to say that R is “flexible” and “rich”, but by the time we get
around to talking about plots I have to concede that my data scientist friends
have a point. There are, after all, three completely different major plotting
systems in R:  the base graphics system,
lattice plots and the ggplot2.

When JP Morgan Chase announced it had lost more than 2 billion dollars on the capital markets back in May 2012, many pointed to the actions of rogue trader Bruno Iksil as the cause. But was the "London Whale" — the nickname he was given by other traders for his outsized positions — the victim not of hubris, but a simple spreadsheet error?

If you listen carefully (and read the subtitles), this computer-controlled piano speaks English words in the voice of a child (via ScienceTip):


Analyst firm Forrester has just announced their top 15 technologies to watch over the next five years, and capabilities near and dear to our hearts hearts here at Revolution Analytics feature prominently. Included on the list:

Last time I checked on the number of R questions on StackOverflow, back in June 2011, there were 5000. Today, there are 23,649. (For comparison, there are 15,649 questions about Matlab and 971 questions on SAS.) 

If you run an e-commerce site, blog or other web property there's a good chance you use Google Analytics to monitor traffic, look at visitor sources, and measure conversions. And while Google Analytics is quite powerful at looking at historic activity on your site, it lacks much in the way of predictive analytics.

If you're writing any significant amount of R code, you might want to start think about bundling it up into packages. An R package combines functions, data, documentation and unit tests, and is a convenient and reliable system to manage and version collections of R content that could otherwise become unwieldy.

If you're in San Francisco for this week's DeveloperWeek conference, our own Joe Rickert will also giving a presentation on Wednesday at 2:10PM on Predictive Modeling with Big Data in R which will feature several demos of data mining massive data sets using the Revolution R Enterprise.

Arc diagrams are an alternate way of representing two-dimensional graphs. Rather than scattering the nodes across the page connected by straight edges, you can instead arrange the nodes along a one-dimensional axis, and replace the straight edges with arcs between the nodes. While an arc diagram might not give as good a sense of the connections between the nodes as a traditional graph layout, judicious ordering of the nodes can help identify clusters.

I used to think I was pretty good at geography. So I thought this Mercator Puzzle, where you just have to move 15 country outlines (out of place, but not rotated) to the actual country locations on the map would be pretty easy. It's not. (Via FlowingData.)